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My lips are always cracked and dry - in summer as well as winter. Lip salves don't help. Is there anything I can do

01:00 Mon 04th Mar 2002 |

asks Sporty:
One of the main reasons lips become dehydrated and crack is that they are constantly exposed to the climate. Extremes of hot and cold are particularly bad for this, drying out the delicate skin on the lips and making them crack and feel painful.

Another reason for lip dryness is not drinking enough water, or too much caffeine and alcohol. All these will dry your skin out from the inside, which just makes the problem worse.

Occasionally, flaky lips are due to contact eczema, caused by a minor allergy to lipstick, for example. Eliminate anything that may be causing this.

Q. So what should I do
A. There are a number of measures you can take to get rid of dry lips - and most will help your skin, too.

  • Drink lots of water, fruit juice and herbal teas throughout the day - at least eight glasses of liquid.
  • Avoid alcohol, tea, coffee and fizzy drinks.
  • To stop making the problem worse, don't lick your lips, even when they're very painful. It's hard not to do this as if feel as if it helps for a little while, but ultimately it just dries them out even more.
  • Instead of a lip salve, which is a barrier, try putting something on your lips which adds moisture. Vaseline is effective and can be topped up all day long. It now comes in little tins especially for lips, and can be kept handy. Otherwise use an emollient cream - ask a pharmacist.
  • Don't use your facial moisturiser because it probably isn't rich enough, and it's likely to be perfumed, which means you'll taste it if it's on your lips.

If you try all these things and dry lips are still a problem, visit your GP - it could be a symptom of another medical condition.

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By Sheena Miller

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